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    Monday, October 14, 2019-7:59:35A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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US visa move against China casts pall over talks to end trade war

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The United States on Tuesday imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials for the detention or abuse of Muslim minorities, angering Beijing, but a U.S. official said high-level trade talks would still take place on Thursday and Friday as planned.

The State Department announced the visa plan just a day after the U.S. Commerce Department cited the mistreatment of Uighur Muslims and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in China in its decision to add 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies to a trade blacklist.

The State Department did not name the Chinese officials affected by the visa clampdown. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the restrictions “complement” the Commerce Department’s actions.

China’s embassy in Washington denounced the move as “made-up pretexts” for interfering in China’s internal affairs.

“#Xinjiang affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. We urge the US to correct its mistakes at once and stop its interference in China’s internal affairs,” the embassy said on Twitter.

Major U.S. stock indexes added to losses after the State Department’s announcement, with the S&P 500 index .SPX closing down about 1.6 percent. Investors feared the escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing could doom efforts to get the trade negotiations back on track.

The U.S. moves cast a pall over U.S.-China trade talks in Washington, where deputy negotiators met for a second day to prepare for the first minister-level meetings in more than two months on Thursday and Friday.

A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said that no meetings were scheduled for Wednesday, but that high-level talks involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would take place as planned on Thursday and Friday.

A Chinese diplomat told Reuters that China wanted a deal, but it cannot be a “zero-sum game.”